THIS WEEK’S SUMMARY
JAMAICAN SOLIDERS DEPLOYED TO FIGHT NEIGHBORHOOD GANGS—01/03/09
Prime Minister Bruce Golding has decided to use Jamaican soldiers to stop gang warfare in two neighborhoods where about 200 residents have been driven from their homes due to the violence. The government plans to increase its military presence in Gravel Heights and Tredegar Park near Kingston, with soldiers occupying some of the many abandoned houses in the area.
ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN COMMUNITY JAMAICA CALLS FOR CONFLICT’S END—01/04/09
Members of the Israeli and Palestinian communities in Jamaica are calling for an end to the conflict between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza. The number of people killed in this conflict has reached almost 500 so far. Israel began launching air strikes against targets in Gaza on December 27. The area has been controlled by Hamas, a Palestinian resistance faction, since the summer of 2007.
FORMER JAMAICAN PM IN MIAMI HOSPITAL—01/04/09
Edward Seaga, former Prime Minister of Jamaica, is under the care of doctors at a hospital in Miami, Florida, where he is recovering. Seaga was hospitalized after developing a cough. Doctors have ruled out pneumonia, but more test results are pending. Seaga became ill while visiting a son and daughter in Miami for the holidays. Seaga is 78 years old.
NO SUGAR DEAL BETWEEN JAMAICAN AND BRAZILIAN COMPANY—01/05/09
A Brazilian firm and the government of Jamaica have not reached an agreement regarding the sale of five sugar factories. The factories, which were losing money, were to be sold by the end of 2008. When that did not happen, the parties agreed to continue negotiations into January. Under an earlier deal, Infinity Bio-Energy would own 75 percent of a new company called NewCo. Jamaica would own 25 percent, and NewCo would take over the five state-operated sugar factories.
IN SPITE OF BANK’S EFFORTS, 2009 TO BE ROUGH YEAR FOR JAMAICA—01/06/09
The Bank of Jamaica has made attempts to manage the nation’s fiscal affairs that include stabilizing the foreign exchange rate, but financial experts believe 2009 will still present many challenges for the country. The global economic crisis has been devastating for Jamaica’s foreign exchange rate. The current value of a Jamaican dollar is about $80 to one U.S. dollar.
JAMAICAN PHILANTHROPIST HELPS FIRE VICTIMS—01/07/09
Arlington Meyers, a Jamaican philanthropist who lives in Georgia, is known for helping Jamaicans in need, and he has offered to help the seven people who were left without homes after a fire at Water Lane in Montego Bay. Meyers has lived in the U.S. for about 20 years, and he has offered to send supplies, including clothing and school supplies, to those affected by the fire.
AGRICULTURE IN JAMAICA TO GO “GREEN” IN 2009—01/08/09
Growing in a greenhouse is becoming a worldwide trend, and crops grown in such conditions are highly desired in the marketplace. The trend is also increasing in Jamaica and being encouraged by the Ministry of Agriculture’s Rural Agriculture Development Authority of Jamaica. There are currently 100 members in the group, and 60 are active greenhouse growers.” Those who utilize greenhouse methods have yields four to ten times greater than traditional field farmers.
BANK TO PROVIDE CREDIT TO FARMERS—01/09/09
The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) has offered J$250 million in credit to support farming and retooling of Jamaica’s agricultural sector. The money, which totals US$3 million, is available to small and medium-sized growers and farmers, exporters, fisher folk, fish farmers, and marketers. It is available via approved financial institutions, including commercial and merchant banks and credit unions.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN SENTENCED TO 8 YEARS FOR MORTGAGE FRAUD in U.S.—01/03/09
A judge in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, sentenced Anthony Dehaney, 57, to eight years in prison for his part in a $12 million mortgage fraud scheme operating in Broward County, Florida. The judge cited the high cost of mortgage fraud to South Floridians when sentencing the Jamaican. Dehaney’s crime imposed a cost of millions of dollars on banks, and his sentence will send a signal to others, who want to try similar schemes, said U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas.
NEW YORK TEEN SENTENCED TO 18 YEARS—01/06/09
Nyanda Charley, 19, has received a sentence of 18 years in prison following a conviction for killing Neville Webb, a 52-year-old Jamaican man, in 2007. Webb was a security guard who tried to disperse a crowd of youth throwing eggs close to the apartment complex in Mt. Vernon, New York, where he was on the job. Webb migrated to the United States in 2005; he had been a prison guard in Jamaica for 25 years.
JAMAICANS STUDY IN CUBA—01/07/09
About 180 Jamaicans have received scholarships to continue their education in medicine at universities in Cuba since 2000, according to the Ministry of Finance. According to Dr. Rosemarie Wright-Pascoe, president of the Medical Association of Jamaica, the medical scholarship program offers opportunities to Jamaican students who need aid in covering tuition, meals, and accommodation. The students also receive a stipend of US$300 per month.
JAMAICAN AUTHOR WINS AWARD FROM U.S. MAGAZINE—01/08/09
The 2008 Award for Fiction provided by Essence Magazine was given to Margaret Cezair-Thompson, the author of “The Pirate Princess.” The book is distributed by Unbridled Books, and it was a “sleeper hit” in the U.S. and Britain. The book is loosely based on the life of Errol Flynn, the Hollywood movie legend who lived in Port Antonio from the late 1940s until his death in 1959.
MOST TOP MOTORSPORT PERFORMERS YOUNGER—01/04/09
In 2008, most of the best motorsport performers in Jamaica were younger competitors, according to Errol Anderson, president of the Jamaica Millennium Motoring Club (JMMC). The club is affiliated with the Federation of International Automobiles (FIA), which governs motorsport around the world.
BOLT RECEIVES AIPA AWARD—01/05/09
The International Sports Press Association (AIPS) has voted Usain Bolt as its male Athlete of the Year for 2008. Yelena Isinbayeva, the Russian pole vaulter, received the award for female Athlete of the Year. Bolt received the votes of 571 journalists from 96 countries around the world.
JAMAICANS TO ST. KITTS FOR FOUR-DAY REGIONAL TOURNAMENT—01/07/09
Although a last-minute change reduced the squad from 14 to 13, Jamaica will play “good, all round” cricket, says team coach Junior Bennett. Bennett says the squad has “good all round strength” and can handle any challenges during the tournament.
WINDIES POOR BATTING LEADS TO WIN FOR NEW ZEALAND—01/08/09
New Zealand got an easy seven-wicket win in the third one-day international match in Wellington, New Zealand, because of the “abysmal” batting of the West Indies team. The Windies never managed to handle the attack from New Zealand, which was headed by Daniel Vettori, Man of the Match.
On a recent early morning drive in to Michigan, I had the very challenging task of driving in heavy, misty fog and rain. Visibility was poor and it was almost impossible to read road signs ten meters away, and even worse, to see other vehicles on the road even with their four-way flashers on. My in car navigational system was working beautifully, and with turn-by-turn instructions it would take me exactly where I wanted to go. But of what use was it if I couldn’t even see the road and my exits? How could I even be sure I was staying in the right driving lane? In situations like these I take advantage of what my eyes could see, the white lines on my left. As long as I stayed close to those lines, I wouldn’t have to worry about drifting across other lanes. They were my guide to let me know I was in the correct driving lane.
The spiritual truth in the experience was not lost on me. As I drove confidently on, the words of the Psalmist came alive in my being, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (119:105, KJV). In the quietness of my thoughts pondering the magnitude of the verse, the Holy Spirit reminded me that He was like my navigational system, always pointing the way to where I needed to go, but in the darkness of the world that is ours, and in the course of day to day living, the word of God were my white lines. As long as I stayed within the boundaries, I would be fine.
It is interesting that in Psalm 119 there are thirty-eight references to “thy word”, and the first time David used it, he wrote, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word” (v.9). It is no wonder then that two verses later he continued, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” or as The Message translation paraphrases it, “I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart so I won’t sin myself bankrupt.” Like driving in heavy, misty fog and rain, staying within the boundaries of the Word can be extremely challenging but they are our white lines. “By your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path” is how The Message puts verse 105, an acknowledgment of the fact that if our every step are not guided by the Word, we cannot be assured that we are in the right lane.
On the nature of the word of God and the use we should make of it, Bible Scholar Matthew Henry wrote, “1. It discovers to us, concerning God and ourselves, that which otherwise we could not have known; it shows us what is amiss, and will be dangerous; it directs us in our work and way, and a dark place indeed the world would be without it. It is a lamp which we may set up by us, and take into our hands for our own particular use (Pro. 6:23). The commandment is a lamp kept burning with the oil of the Spirit; it is like the lamps in the sanctuary, and the pillar of fire to Israel. 2. The use we should make of it. It must be not only a light to out eyes, to gratify them, and fill our heads with speculations, but a light to our feet and to our path, to direct us in the right ordering of our conversation, both in the choice of our way in general and in the particular steps we take in that way, that we may not take a false way nor a false step in the right way. We are then truly sensible of God’s goodness to us in giving us such a lamp and light when we make it a guide to our feet, our path.”
Have you checked your steps lately? Who, or what, has been guiding them?
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.